EU Must Do More To Fight Climate Change, Dimas Says
BRUSSELS The European Union must do more to fight climate change and meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol international environmental treaty, the bloc's environment commissioner said on Monday.
"In terms of meeting our Kyoto target, the latest data show that greenhouse gas emissions from the EU-25 are 5.5 percent below their level in 1990. That is the good news," EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said.
"But between 2002 and 2003 emissions increased by 1.5 percent. With current measures, the EU is estimated to achieve an overall reduction of 4.1 percent by 2008-2012, as such a good result -- but not enough. More work is clearly needed."
He spoke at the launch of the next phase of the European Climate Change Programme, measures to fight climate change after 2012 when the first period covered by Kyoto runs out.
The Kyoto target for the EU-15, or the "old" member states before the bloc expanded to 25 last year, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2012. EU President Britain also said more work was needed.
"It is clear that emissions are not being reduced as quickly as we want. Urgent action is needed in all sectors at both national and EU level to deal with this," said British Minister of State for Climate Change and Environment Elliot Morely.
The first climate change programme, launched in 2000, set out 42 measures to cut back on the gasses that warm the globe, including required energy efficiency standards for new buildings and the EU's flagship emissions trading scheme.
The second programme will focus on further initiatives such as reducing emissions from the transport sector and working on technology like carbon capture and storage, Dimas said.
Carbon dioxide is the gas mainly blamed for global warming.
Global negotiations on a strategy to reduce global warming post 2012 take place in Montreal later this year, and Dimas repeated his call for the world's largest polluter, the United States, to do more to address the issue.
"The United States should decide to face the problem," he told reporters. "Otherwise they give pretext to other countries to hide behind the United States and not move."
President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of Kyoto in 2001, calling it too costly and unfair because it omits developing nations from the first round of cuts until 2012.